This month saw the welcome return of the annual Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta to the state of New Mexico, USA.
Cancelled last year due to COVID-19, the festival was back with a bang this month. The nine-day spectacular is one of the largest and most well-attended balloon festivals in the world, and it has been running since 1972.
Nearly 600 pilots attended the fiesta, including 83 special-shaped balloons. This year, visitors to the event were treated to balloon launches at dawn, including spectacular morning glows as the sun was rising, along with evening glows at dusk. Mass ascensions saw a host of balloons take to the skies all at once, and ballooning competitions were held to delight the crowds.
A highlight of the event was the Special Shape Rodeo, which included balloons in all shapes and sizes. Bees, unicorns, cows, armadillos and dragons were just some of the special balloons that wowed spectators. For those that preferred to keep their feet firmly on the ground, the chainsaw woodcutting exhibition featuring the sculptures of professional chainsaw carvers, along with the skydiving and afterglow firework displays, were firm favourites.
Hot air ballooning has been part of the fabric of Albuquerque for decades, and it is not hard to see why. The magic of hot air ballooning cannot be underestimated. If you want to get a taste of it for yourself, hot air balloons flights over Bath, Bristol, and other areas of the southwest can be had.